Negri thinking championship on the way to Laguna podium (Monterey, CA) 20 May 2007-- A yellow flag with just a handful of laps remaining cut Oswaldo Negri's chances of victory in the U.S. Sports Car Invitational short, but the Brazilian hot shoe...
Negri thinking championship on the way to Laguna podium
(Monterey, CA) 20 May 2007-- A yellow flag with just a handful of laps remaining cut Oswaldo Negri's chances of victory in the U.S. Sports Car Invitational short, but the Brazilian hot shoe had already decided that discretion was the better part of valor as he stayed in line to hold onto third position at the finish. The podium appearance was Negri's first of the 2007 season and marked the first time he and co-driver Mark Patterson stepped up to a Rolex Sports Car Series podium since their triumph in the season-ending race of 2006 at Miller Motorsports Park.
Patterson started the race from twelfth, made a good start and moved up to eleventh before turning the controls over to Negri, who rejoined the field in seventeenth before slicing his way into contention at the front.
"We were running so close--all three of us were within one second--that there was really nothing separating us," said Negri. "The only way to make a pass would have been to have done something pretty risky. We have a long way to go in the championship and that's more important than anything, just getting the points we can when we can, and keep moving forward."
Negri, who helped Lexus secure the 2006 Rolex Manufacturers Championship for Lexus with his Miller victory, was trying to be another positive contribution to that effort again on Sunday.
"Scott (Pruett) was the guy right ahead of me, and if I'd done something over aggressive and that took us out, that' have jeopardized the points for Lexus as well so I had to think about the bigger picture. It was lucky for the Porsche that the yellow came out when it did because I think otherwise we would have had a Lexus 1-2 today.
Negri, who held the track record before the 2007 Rolex race weekend, set a time much faster than his record in practice and is now looking forward to the next challenge at Watkins Glen.
"I'm really happy though with the whole weekend and how the team prepared the car," said Negri. "We were quick every session, and now we'll be getting ready for the Glen, where Mark (Patterson) is very fast."